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Pope Francis' Speech to Congress to Be Shown on National Mall

  • Cindy Saine

Faithful take photos with their mobile phones as Pope Francis departs from San Francisco Church aboard the Popemobile, in Quito, Ecuador, July 7, 2015.

Faithful take photos with their mobile phones as Pope Francis departs from San Francisco Church aboard the Popemobile, in Quito, Ecuador, July 7, 2015.

House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday Pope Francis' address to Congress in September will be broadcast live on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol.

The pope has planned a nine-day visit to the U.S. and Cuba in September.

He is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and celebrate Mass in Washington, New York and Philadelphia, as well as several other events.

Jumbotrons also will be set up on the National Mall so the public can watch the pope speak in the House chamber to the Congress. He is expected to raise the issues of abortion, immigration and climate change.

The speech will mark the first time the head of the Catholic Church will address Congress.

The event likely will draw dignitaries similar to those in attendance at a presidential State of the Union address: lawmakers, Obama's Cabinet members, Supreme Court justices and the diplomatic corps.

Boehner said that after the speech, the pontiff wants to make a brief appearance on the West Front of the Capitol building.

"The visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. Capitol is a historic moment for the country," Boehner said in a statement.

He added: "We look forward to welcoming Pope Francis and Americans from all walks of life to our Capitol on September 24."

Boehner, who is Catholic, invited the pope to address Congress in March 2014, and the Vatican accepted the invitation in February.

Some material for this report came from AP.

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